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PZ 7705/39 'Egypt: British Embassy measures to influence Arabic press' [‎7r] (13/38)

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The record is made up of 1 file (17 folios). It was created in 22 Nov 1939-21 Feb 1940. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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(J 159/49/16)
M B F 0 ~R A F DU F
Having been invite l to supply information on certain
aspects of the Embassy’s Press activities, T would venture
first to place on record a few cardinal princi les by which
relations with the l ress in Egypt have been conveniently guided.
(1) In a country where flattery, adulation, and lavish
display form an integral part of social and commercial inter
course, it is inevitable that a ’’publicity sense” is highly
developed. It follows, as a natural corollary, that those
who cater to this particular complex - namely journalists -
enjoy a sort of fictitious prestige which is often quite
inconsistent with their merits or attainments. "'hus a
humble reporter is often granted access to a Cabinet Minister,
and there is hardly a member of the Royal Family who is not
on terms of friendly intimacy with one or other henchman in
one paper or another. Even the ex-Khedive Abbas Hilmy
employs a salaried and accredited publicity agent in Egypt,
an individual, incidentally, of extremely dubious antecedents
but valuable and influential ’’contacts”. An uncompromising
attitude towards this possibly deplorable but fundamentally
harmless manifestation of Oriental mentality is not likely to
improve personal relat ons with the ]ress, even though the
publicity it is desired to create is not personal but national.
(2) Another peculiarity of the East is ’’backshish”, a form
of largesse which is neither a tip nor a bribe but a traditional
recognition of unsolicited service. Thus an editor, who on
his own spontaneous initiative goes out of his way to present
a case in a favourable light, quite legitimately expects his
services /

About this item


This file consists of correspondence between British officials relating to press activities in Egypt, namely the way that Britain and its interests are portrayed in the newspapers. A memorandum written by Albert Napier Williamson Napier (Assistant Oriental Secretary (Press and Publicity) for the British Embassy in Cairo), discusses tactics for promoting pro-British sentiment in the Egyptian press, particularly during wartime.

The main correspondents in the file are the Foreign Office, Lord Linlithgow (Viceroy and Governor General of India), and Alec Houghton Joyce (Chief Press Advisor to No. 10 Downing Street).

Extent and format
1 file (17 folios)

The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the rear to the front of the file.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at the front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 19; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.

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English in Latin script
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PZ 7705/39 'Egypt: British Embassy measures to influence Arabic press' [‎7r] (13/38), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/319, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 14 October 2019]

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